A WIRRAL men’s domestic abuse charity, that cycled from France to the Netherlands to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings, have said it was the “greatest trip they will ever do”.

54 cyclists and 10 support team members from the Paul Lavelle Foundation took on three countries in four days.

They began their journey riding from Calais in France along the route the British troops took to the bridge in Arnhem via Ypres and Antwerp before finishing in Rotterdam.

Paul Lavelle FoundationPaul Lavelle Foundation (Image: Paul Lavelle Foundation)

As well as laying wreaths on behalf of the Lord Lieutenant of Merseyside, and the British Commonwealth Association, the team took part in the official last post ceremony at Ypres.

Paul Gladwell, Co-Chairman of the Paul Lavelle Foundation, told the Globe: “We have just participated in the greatest trip we have ever done and in my opinion the greatest we will ever do given the places we visited at the time of the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings.

“We held memorials and laid wreaths at Commonwealth graves in Dunkirk, Antwerp, and Arnhem. In Ypres, we took part in the town's nightly last post ceremony and also laid wreaths on behalf of the people of Wirral, The Lord Lieutenant of Merseyside, and the Liverpool Commonwealth Association.

“Our ride was named a 'bridge too far' and we finished this at The John Frost Bridge in Arnhem famous to many as the 'bridge too far' in the film about allied airborne soldiers who bravely outnumbered and defended the bridge for a number of days. 

“We also went to the Oosterbeek cemetery in Arnhem to pay our respects to our mate Paul Lavelle as this journey was about him too, we had always planned to do this journey as mates to visit these places we have this past week, sadly we never, so we have now in his name.”

The Paul Lavelle Foundation was set up in memory of 50-year-old Paul, from Rock Ferry, who was killed by his girlfriend Sarah Lewis after she attacked him with a broken dinner plate in May 2017.

Lewis was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison after pleading guilty to manslaughter.

50 of Paul's friends honoured his memory by setting up the foundation to raise awareness of domestic abuse involving men and it now delivers community well-being activity groups in the form of walking, running, swimming, and cycling groups.

Paul added: “It has been so rewarding to see the sheer joy of so many whom attended this great trip, to many this was their first adventure with us, it clearly now will not be their last.

“We always said we wanted to create memories and laughs in Paul's name and this past week has done just that, the social aspect, the camaraderie, and the emotions will live with me forever and I'm sure the whole team will say the same... we are so proud of what everyone has achieved. Long may it continue.”